August 25, 2017 / 6:31 AM / 7 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies set to end the week with gains; await Yellen, Draghi

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    Aug 25 (Reuters) - Asian currencies were mostly steady on
Friday as investors cautiously awaited a global central bank
conference, but most regional units were poised to end the week
with solid gains. 
    The South Korean won was up nearly 1 percent for
the week as tensions on the Korean peninsula eased, while the
Philippine peso was set to register a weekly gain after
two consecutive weeks of declines.
    The Malaysian ringgit, Indian rupee, Taiwan
dollar were all on track for weekly gains.
    The Thai baht, however, was the biggest decliner
for the week, after Thailand's customs-cleared annual exports
fell short of expectations.
    On Friday, regional currencies stuck to narrow ranges as
investors cautiously awaited global central bankers' speeches at
the Federal Reserve's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
    While neither Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen nor
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was expected to
deliver any fresh policy messages, investors remained wary of
any comments which could prompt selling of regional currencies.
    Such hawkish comments from the ECB and the Fed might not
affect the euro or the dollar so much, but could put upward
pressure on yields, said Nizam Idris, head of strategy, fixed
income and currencies at Macquarie Bank.
    Higher U.S. yields could push the dollar up against emerging
market currencies, Idris said. 
    On the other hand, some analysts said a dovish stance from
the central banks could provide some leeway for some Asian
central banks to consider cutting rates, as the dollar could
weaken further.    
    This month, India and Indonesian central banks cut their
policy rates in efforts to boost their economies, and Rob
Carnell, head of research at ING in Singapore, expects Thailand
could be next in line to cut. 
    The Philippine peso was down 0.2 percent on the
day, but was up 0.7 percent for the week.
    Its gains came after the central bank warned traders on
Monday that it would intervene in the currency market to curb
any speculative activity.
    The peso is Asia's worst performing currency so far this
year, with a 2.7 percent decline.
    On Friday, the central bank said it is in firm control of
the peso's exchange rate and is confident that the country does
not face a foreign exchange crisis.
    The peso has recently plumbed 11-year lows, partly due to
expectations that the Philippines could post its first current
account deficit in 15 years for 2017.
    "I maintain a negative view on the peso," said Macquarie
Bank's Idris. "You need some more time for the currency to do
its 'magic' and boost exports and subtract imports to balance
its current account a little bit more."  
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0535 GMT.
   Change on the                                   
 day at   0535 GMT                         
  Currency             Latest    Previous  Pct Move
                          bid         day  
  Japan yen         109.580        109.54     -0.04
  Sing dlr          1.361          1.3618     +0.09
  Taiwan dlr        30.256         30.265     +0.03
  Korean won        1128.900       1127.9     -0.09
  Baht              33.330          33.34     +0.03
  Peso              51.105             51     -0.21
  Rupiah            13346.000       13346     +0.00
  Rupee             64.030          64.03     +0.00
  Ringgit           4.274           4.278     +0.09
  Yuan              6.665          6.6640     -0.02
  Change so far in                                 
  Currency          Latest     End 2016    Pct Move
  Japan yen         109.580        117.07     +6.84
  Sing dlr          1.361          1.4490     +6.50
  Taiwan dlr        30.256         32.279     +6.69
  Korean won        1128.900      1207.70     +6.98
  Baht              33.330          35.80     +7.41
  Peso              51.105          49.72     -2.71
  Rupiah            13346.000       13470     +0.93
  Rupee             64.030          67.92     +6.08
  Ringgit           4.274          4.4845     +4.93
  Yuan              6.665          6.9467     +4.23

 (Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by
Lisa Twaronite and Kim Coghill)
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